Coach Evan Phillips was more than happy to find the positives in a 2-1 weekend loss to the Durham Lords, as the Cambrian Golden Shield women’s soccer team dropped their third encounter in four tries in the early going of the 2019 fall schedule.
“To be honest, if we had talked before the weekend, I would have taken that outcome in a heartbeat,” said the former Shield soccer keeper, after the Lords improved to 3-1-0 with their victory on the road.
“Durham is nationally ranked, top five last week,” Phillips continued. “We have a super young group this year, so it’s all about making progress, little strides, and we were in that game.” After opening their schedule with a 2-1 win, at home, over the Centennial Colts, the same could not be said for back to back losses to the St Lawrence Vikings (6-0) and Algonquin Thunder (5-0).
One could certainly understand a heightened sense of anxiety surrounding the Cambrian team as they prepared to face yet another one of the expected OCAA East Division front-runners last Sunday. “They definitely outshot us and outplayed us, there’s no denying that,” said Phillips.
“But in the second half, we maybe did not completely out-chance them, but we were close. In the first half, we did a nice job to bend but not break. Defensively, we did a great job with our difficult situations, and then simple stuff is where we gave up our goals, not marking on one goal, being out of position a little bit, and then not following after Leigh Hayward (Cambrian netminder) made a great save.”
“It was unfortunate to have such a good game, such good play from everyone, and not have a result to show,” summarized Phillips. “That’s a little upsetting. But given where we are as a group and where we are moving to, it’s encouraging.”
The other encouraging aspect for the second year head coach and his squad is the fact that only one of the team’s final five games to close out their regular season schedule will pit the Golden Shield against an adversary who currently sports a better than .500 record.
“If we play with that same energy against George Brown (College) this weekend, or in our remaining three home games, we’re going to be fine for the rest of the season,” said Phillips. For as much as he is still very much in the infancy of his collegiate coaching career, this particular collection of talent at Cambrian accounts for more newness than usual.
“This group is quite a bit different from previous seasons, in so many ways, just because it’s so fresh,” said Phillips. “For about 90% of these girls, we haven’t previously coached or been involved with them in a competitive structure. The first part of the season is just about getting them adjusted to the way that we play, our style of play, the expectations, and then going from there.”
“We have some very good athletes this year, who are young and eager to learn, so it’s been about teaching them the positions so that they understand it from a tactical perspective, just making sure that everyone knows their responsibilities,” Phillips continued. “That’s been our biggest challenge, trying to have everyone feel comfortable with where they are playing.”
On the road one more time this weekend, with matchups opposite the George Brown Huskies (1-2-0) and Seneca Sting (3-0-0), the Shield are back in Sudbury on October 5th versus the Fleming Knights (0-4-0), October 6th against the Loyalist Lancers (0-3-1), and October 12th against the Sault Cougars (1-3-0).
“We want to get to the playoffs and then see where we are,” said Phillips. “I still think this team has plenty to get there, but we do have to stay healthy.”**************************************
OCAA soccer has changed notably over the course of the past twenty years. That fact has become increasingly clear to first year Cambrian men’s coach Frank Anselmo, as the long-time local soccer man looks to steady the ship with his Golden Shield this fall.
Anselmo and his lads head to George Brown on Saturday, coming off back to back losses to Algonquin and Durham, contests in which they were outscored by a combined margin of 15-0. Much like the ladies, the local men’s squad will enjoy a more favourable schedule in the second half of their fall outings, compared to their four matches to date (0-3-1).
Following their outings with George Brown (0-2-0) and Seneca (2-1-0) this weekend, the Shield will virtually mirror their fairer sex counterparts with games against Fleming (0-3-1) and the Sault (0-4-0).
Coach Jeff Paul and the cross-country crew are off to Toronto as Seneca College plays host to an invitational meet, while volleyball teams at both Collège Boreal and Cambrian continue with exhibition and tournament play, readying for the start of the regular season the third week of October.